Easterseals Arc partners with St. Joe Foundation to improve health outcomes

Dr. Dave Johnson meets with a patient at the Easterseals Arc on-site clinic.

Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana has been serving people with disabilities in Northeast Indiana for more than 65 years. With a mission of “helping people with disabilities become as independent as possible,” the organization offers a variety of youth, adult, and employment services; support and resources for family members; respite care; recreational therapy; and an on-site clinic. 

Since 2002, the St. Joe Foundation has supported the work of Easterseas Arc, including the re-opening of the on-site clinic in February of 2022 and its continued operations. According to CEO Donna Elbrecht, “The initial dollars from the St. Joe Community Health Foundation helped us get two accessible exam tables, and that in and of itself is a huge change for people to have a full-on experience out of just their wheelchair.” 

The on-site clinic was created to improve health outcomes, quality of care, social determinants of health, and healthcare efficiencies while reducing healthcare costs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Easterseals partners with Rounding Providers, a network of licensed and certified medical professionals with experience serving niche groups including nursing homes and people with IDD, to offer on-site care three days a week as well as telehealth services. “Our vision was to have this clinic to be more like a primary care clinic for the members,” said Dr. Dave Johnson, Rounding Providers physician. “Our hope was that by having something here, this could be a central hub for folks to go to for their care.”

In addition to primary care services, a psychiatric nurse practitioner comes on a regular basis to see patients with specific diagnosis and medication needs, the clinic arranges to have blood draws on-site, and certain testing is offered. One of the goals of the clinic is for providers and patients to develop relationships so that care is offered and received from a place of familiarity. “I’ve worked for Easterseals since 2016, so I know a lot of our clients very well,” shared nurse practitioner Asia Jones. “I know their backgrounds, I know their medical histories, so it helps having that relationship. They’re more comfortable when they come in and see a familiar face.”

As a testament to the clinic’s impact, a family with multiple autistic children reached out to clinic staff to express appreciation for their kindness and care. “It has been a challenge for [the children] to be understood by providers, and I am happy they liked the care they received by your team.”

To learn more about Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana’s clinic, please click the link to see the short video they’ve created: https://youtu.be/UakDjpwJf0k